The doctrine regarding sanctification is an essential part of the Holy Scriptures and deals with the entire salvation of man. Sanctification is so important that we find many foreshadows in the Old Testament which help make this doctrine in the New Testament come across clearly. Furthermore, we find that the Lord Jesus taught a complete plan of salvation and the necessity of a second, definite work of divine grace.
It is sad to say that there are many who profess they are Christians, but lack a desire to have a deep and close relationship with God. Yes, there are even those who despise the preaching of sanctification and do not see it as a necessity. In fact, they even admit they are not sanctified and have no desire to obtain it. Many say: “I don’t understand sanctification and have no idea what it is.” At the same time, they say they have been saved for many years. During all these years, they were aware the Bible taught sanctification but did not concern themselves with it. Dear soul, remember that there is no such thing as a standstill in the kingdom of God; either we press forward, or we begin to drift backwards.
In order for us to understand sanctification, which is a great privilege for us, with a better sense of clarity, let us study it a little deeper:
God desires it: “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-3).
Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). What is God’s will? According to the previous text, we must say: “The will of God is our sanctification.” This requirement was directed to the Thessalonians and, brother and sister, it is also personally directed to you.
Everyone needs sanctification. Jesus said: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:7). He knew that His disciples would need this power because He would no longer be among them in body. Their future was a life of serving and working for the Lord, and for that reason, Jesus told them to wait until they received the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49). If Jesus required this, then I would like to ask you the question: “How are you equipped to work in the service of the Lord?” Perhaps your answer is: “Oh, I am not a pastor.” Perhaps not, but you are a witness for Him. When the Lord Jesus told His disciples how they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, He said: “You shall be witnesses to Me!” You may say that you can be a witness for the Lord without sanctification. But think about Peter that night Jesus was arrested. That is why I say with all resoluteness that if we want to possess everything that Jesus has prepared for us, we have to search for it in all earnestness.
Other things that require sanctification are our temptations and selfish desires. Our ego or self-importance has to die and in turn be filled with God’s power in order to have a life that is pleasing to God. Our carnal nature does not want to submit to God’s will, and if the tempter attacks us, we are in serious danger.
Since we know that God cannot use someone in His service who is not entirely consecrated to Him, it is our duty to make an effort to attain sanctification so that we can be equipped for His work. God desires to always have the first place in our heart and in our life.
We need sanctification for our duties. Besides resisting temptations and persecutions in our life, our work for the Lord, no matter what, is very important. Every person is a tool in God’s hand. Everyone has a special duty. There are people who only you can help and who no one else can. Be aware of the great responsibility you have and think about the influence you leave with them. Therefore, you must do as Paul wrote in Romans 12: “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God.” Only then can God use you in His service as He wishes, and only then can He also give you the power necessary for your duty.
The Church in its entirety compares to an engine in which every part has a job to fulfill. If someone is not sanctified, he is like a faulty part, and the engine does not work properly. In this same manner, the work in the Church suffers if only one soul is not strong in temptation and is overrun by Satan’s tactics. The outside world looks upon the Church and judges it by the life of this one person.
When someone has consecrated his life completely to God, God will then cleanse him from all carnal cravings and fill him with the Holy Spirit, filling him with faith and power. Such a holy service glorifies God and leads people to salvation through the precious blood of the Lamb.
If you would also submit yourself to God’s leading and let Him use you as a tool in His hand, what a wonderful and blessed influence would flow from you. The same words people said of Stephen they will say about you: “And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke” (Acts 6:10). Therefore, “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).